Smirke is credited with designing both the Observatory and Greek Temple (also known as the Rotunda Temple) on Fuller's Rose Hill Estate, Brightling, Sussex. The Observatory was fitted with expensive astronomical equipment including a "Camera Obscura".
Several intriguing questions surround these buildings. Who was the astronomer who operated the equipment? Did Fuller and his entertain his friends at the Temple?
Sir Robert Smirke came from a family involved in the arts. His father, also Robert (1752-1845), was a historical painter and book illustrator. His younger brother Sydney (1798-1877) was an architect.
Although Smirke worked on private buildings in the Gothic Revival and Medieval styles, he is best known as an architect of public Neo-Classical/Greek Revival buildings. The British Museum (1823 -1847) and Canada House (1824) in London are two of the best known public buildings credited to Smirke.
His first commission was Lowther Castle built in 1806 when he was a mere lad of 25.
Smirke was knighted in 1832, and received the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Gold Medal for Architecture in 1853. He died in Cheltenham on April 18th 1867
"Eastnor Castle, in the dramatic setting of the Malvern Hills and surrounded by a beautiful deer park, arboretum and lake - is the home of the Hervey-Bathurst family.
The style proposed by the architect, the young Robert Smirke, was Norman Revival. From a distance, Eastnor was intended to create the impression of a medieval fortress guarding the Welsh Borders. The symmetry of the design emphasised authority, distinguishing it from the rambling, picturesque, castellated mansions of a slightly earlier period at Downton and Lowther, the latter also designed by Smirke."
The British Museum
Canada House - The Canadian High Commission in Britain